Sukhda Pritam, Judicial Magistrate (First class), today acquitted Haryana Janhit Congress chief Kuldeep Bishnoi and 23 others in a case of rioting, assault on public servant and criminal intimidation after the prosecution failed to prove the charges. Those acquitted include an ex-MP Dharam Pal Malik. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal was also an accused in the case against whom proceedings were dropped following his death. Another accused in the case, Balkar Singh, is a proclaimed offender. Bishnoi and 23 others were booked by the Chandigarh Police in March, 2010, after the HJP rally turned violent in Sector 25. The UT Police had initially registered a case under various sections when Bishnoi and his partymen were also charged with attempt to murder but the charges were later dropped. The Chandigarh Police had registered a case on March 5, 2010, after a party rally turned violent. Over 1,000 party workers, led by Bishnoi, had gathered at the Sector 25 ground to protest the policies of the state government. A clash broke out when the police stopped them from jumping a barricade following which the police used batons, tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse the mob. The police cane-charged the protesters after the latter threw stones at them. As per the prosecution case, Bishnoi and his party workers had smashed the windowpanes of vehicles parked in the Sector 25 rally ground and also attacked the police. Defence counsel AS Sukhija argued that none of the prosecution witnesses—all police officers—had stated that the accused had caused injury to anyone. Moreover, no damage to any property had been proved. The police case was that the barricades were damaged whereas the evidence showed otherwise. There was just a displacement of barricade. No report of any damage to the barricades was brought on record, Sukhija stated. Other allegations of the prosecution also fell flat in the court.

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